News  |    |  February 14, 2020

CDEI and BCS study into ethical maturity of AI practice

News article by the British Computer Society. Published on the BCS blog.


In this blog Mandy Chessell CBE FREng FBCS, Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor at IBM, talks about a new joint study between CDEI and BCS to develop practical guidance on embedding ethical practice in MSc courses on Machine Learning and Data Science.

Equipping future AI practitioners with the right ethical skills

AI is becoming ubiquitous. Around the world there are now over fifty sets of ethical AI principles that have been published and there are new institutes for ethical AI springing up all over the place. That all goes to show society wants to have robust AI safeguards and AI practitioners who know how to behave ethically. Yet, despite all these lofty aspirations, it seems hard to get the ethics of AI right in practice.

The government’s independent advisory body, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation has started a study in partnership with BCS, to determine why ethical AI is proving to be so challenging in practice, and how we make sure the next generation of AI practitioners graduating from universities are fully capable of facing these challenges. Having spent many years at IBM looking at these kinds of problems, I’m pleased to be supporting this effort by chairing the project steering board.

The study has just started in earnest, with our kick off meeting at the end of November at the Royal Academy of Engineering, where the project strategy board took a hard look at the scope of the problem and what we need to do for the study to reach valuable conclusions that will be impactful. This blog gives a summary of what we hope to do in the study and how we’ll go about our work, and at the end of the blog I’ve listed members of the board. [ . . . ]